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Hearty Super Bowl foods with fewer calories

February 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Let's face it: Super Bowl Sunday is not about exercising between commercials and having a salad. No, we want pizza, chili, wings - all kinds of thick, hearty, filling food. Guess what, the following is meatless!"It's hearty, it's flavorful, it has texture, it has everything that normal Super Bowl food would have," said Ray White, co-owner of The Veggie Grill.

But what White isn't telling you is that the food at his Veggie Grill restaurants comes from plant, not animal protein, although you'd be hard pressed to taste or even see the difference.

"It's all about comfort food, it's all about texture and flavor," White said.

They offer all that in their burgers, wings, chili, even nachos, which might be the Super Bowl option you're looking for if you've been on a New Year's resolution to eat a little better.

"Our calorie count is lower, our fat intake is lower, we have more fiber, we have more protein and above all, no cholesterol," White said.

Nachos are mostly a nice hot pile of high-fat cheese and fried chips, yet their version is around 300 calories for half the platter, cholesterol-free, with 7 grams of fiber. That's rare.

Compare that to a serving of regular nachos with a hundred more calories per serving and double the fat.

Chili is always a crowd-pleasing pick. A standard bowl is pretty healthy before the cheese, sour cream and Fritos (about 300 calories), but Veggie Grill's version saves about 70 calories a cup, cutting out saturated animal fat while enjoying the fixings.

When it comes to Buffalo chicken wings, you'll find most average about 80 calories each before the dip. The Veggie Grill version is almost half that, at 45 calories, yet they're still saucy and spicy.

"We cut it, we bread it, we batter it, we fry it and we put a sauce on it," White said.

Finally, setting up a taco bar makes it easy for guests to pick their favorite add-ons. Veggie Grill's veggie cheese, mock meat, spicy medley and traditional topping idea might keep your gang from hitting that high-fat food coma by halftime.

Note: if you can't get to a Veggie Grill (there are four locations), try some of the meatless options at most major grocery chains from companies like Morningstar Farms, Gardein and Boca. Found in the freezer section, they offer low or no cholesterol and are lower in fat.